Building a new combo gaming and linux system - $1,200-$1,500

I'm trying to decide on the rest of the parts for my new build - the information form is
at the bottom. I built my current system a few years ago - core 2 duo and gigabyte MB.
I do system administration for a living and team fortress 2 is my primary game.

For a processor, I guess it should probably be an i7. Although it annoys the
hell out of me that only certain models of i5 and i7 support the new AES
instructions as I do use encryption on Linux and for some things on
Windows and some of the software I use supports those new instructions.

Microcenter seems to have the best cpu pricing by far with the limitation
that it's only for in-store pickup, but I have one nearby.

Intel Core i7-950 3.06GHz Boxed Processor is $229.99 + tax

Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz Boxed Processor is $199.99 + tax

Is the higher binned cpu worth an extra $30? Since I dual-boot windows and
linux, I probably won't overclock much as linux is often less tolerant of it than

I will probably stick with the included cooler, at least initially.

For graphics, I already have a new:

MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC 1GB Overclocked Graphics Card

and may add a second in the future. Which eliminates some motherboards,
like the gigabyte, due to gpu slot spacing.

For a case, I'm probably go with something inexpensive like:

Antec Three Hundred ATX Mid Tower Case $50

For a motherboard, I think I'm having the most trouble deciding. I want SATA 6GB
and USB 3.

Based on net research and reviews, I was considering:

X58 Extreme3 - Supports True 333: USB 3.0, SATA3, eSATA3, Supports Gulftown 6-Core CPU, Cool Heatpipe Design!
ASRock X58 Extreme 3 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $190

They now also have:

ASRock X58 Extreme6 Socket 1366/ Intel X58/ Quad CrossFireX & Quad SLI/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&GbE/ ATX Motherboard - X58 EXTREME6 $229.50

Although ASRock is now owned by ASUS, there are certainly a lot less places to buy
their boards and so less price competition. The tech reviews looked good.

I wonder if I should be considering something like the ASUS P6X58D-E instead?
ASUS LGA 1366 - Intel X58 - True USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gb/s - ATX Motherboard P6X58D-E $229.99

Motherboard input would be appreciated!

Haven't given a lot of thought to it. Probably 6 GB to start with - 3 x 2 as
I do want to have some expansion space. Suppose I need to pick the motherboard
first before I can pick brand and speed of memory.

Power Supply
Probably want, what, 700 watts or so if a second GTX 250 may be added
in the future. Is that enough?

Approximate Purchase Date: soon

Budget Range: open - probably around $1200 - $1500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: 50% FPS (TF2, BBC2, L4D2) on Win 7; 50 % Linux, mostly Fedora and virutalized systems

Parts Not Required: monitor (Have Sceptre 1920x1200)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: sites that don't charge sales tax for California!

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel CPU

Overclocking: Maybe, see above

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe in future

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200 for desktop, the higher, the better for games.

Additional Comments: I like quiet systems. I live close to both Microcenter and Frys.


Parts already purchased:

MSI N460GTX Cyclone 1GD5/OC 1GB Overclocked Graphics Card
2 answers Last reply
More about building combo gaming linux system
  1. ^ You might want to check out the ASUS X58 Sabertooth board...

    CPU - If overclocking in the cards, then the i7 930 would suffice as you can put the money saved on a CPU Cooler,...but no plans to overclocking, then get the i7 950...
    But a moderate overclocking in BIOS might not have much effect in Linux I guess...

    Mobo + RAM

    CASE + PSU -
    Antec 300 + OCZ Fatality 750W

    HDD - Samsung F3 1TB
  2. Since Linux in on the cards

    AMD Phenom II X6 1090T reviewed (for Linux developers) | What Digital Revolution?
    As anyone who does Linux development knows, going multithreaded is usually as simple as typing “make -jN”, where N is the number of parallel jobs that you want to execute while building your app (normally N = number of cores/processors + 1). At $200/$300 per processor, that would make the X6 a bargain-basement priced high-power workstation (Intel’s current six-core offering, the Core i7 9xx series, is actually faster than the X6 but also costs +$1000, out of the reach of mortals and students like myself).

    With gaming and with HD6000 series GPUs so near you could consider waiting or hitting an IGP/SATA/USB 3.0 chipset like 880g ^^

    What me basic X6/IGP template looks like w/o SSD + OS

    Starts from $602AR
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